“Party in Search of a Notion,” the essay by Prospect editor Michael Tomasky, provoked a tremendous response from readers, other writers, and political leaders. Press attention included a front-page article in The New York Times on May 9.
To keep the conversation going, we invited five people to write responses. The ideologically diverse group includes William A. Galston, Jedediah Purdy, Fred Seigel, Amy Sullivan, and Ron Walters. We publish them here.
Not long after George W. Bush delivered his June 2002 speech severing relations with Yasir Arafat, a White House reporter wondered whether Natan Sharansky had become one of the president's speechwriters. By the time of President Bush's second inaugural, in January 2005, reporters no longer had to guess at Sharansky's inﬂuence. The previous November, the president had received the refusenik-turned-politician at the White House for a lengthy discussion. “If you want a glimpse of how I think about foreign policy, read Natan Sharansky's book,” the president later told The Washington Times. Sharansky's argument that terrorism can be fought only by expanding global freedom, Bush said, is “part of my presidential DNA.”
On June 1 at West Point, President George W. Bush set forth a new doctrine for U.S. security policy. The successful strategies of the Cold War era, he declared, are ill suited to national defense in the 21st century. Deterrence means nothing against terrorist networks; containment will not thwart unbalanced dictators possessing weapons of mass destruction. We cannot afford to wait until we are attacked. In today's circumstances, Americans must be ready to take "preemptive action" to defend our lives and liberties.